The New Argument of Israel’s One-Staters

Here’s the dilemma most commonly used to pressure Israel into abandoning its settlement policy.

‘Look Israel, there’s three things you care about, only two of which can be preserved at any time: a) a Jewish state, b) a democracy, c) control over the West Bank (Judea & Samaria). If you pick a Jewish state and the West Bank, you’ll end up with apartheid. Don’t go there. Be smart, and abandon c).’

Plenty of settlers and their supporters seem unimpressed by this argument. But instead of offering explicit rebuttals, they’ll typically point to problems with the PA in an argument to preserve the current status quo. This implies, though rarely explicates, a degree of willingness to adopt apartheid. Clearly this is unacceptable. (There are also those, like above-featured Naftali Bennett, who advocate autonomy for the Palestinians in areas A and B, while advocating annexation of area C. Still, due the lack of sovereign rights for Palestinians, this arguably falls within the apartheid category).

However, recently I’ve seen something new: an explicit (and indeed reasonably interesting) answer to the above dilemma. One prominent thinker in this regard is Yoram Ettinger (another is Caroline Glick). Ettinger’s argument is simple: the demographic argument on which the two-state dilemma relies is false. Actually the size of the Palestinian population in the West Bank has been overstated (international organizations typically count the Gaza population as well, but clearly Israel has no intention of annexing Gaza; this may be problematic, but let’s leave morals aside for a moment). Furthermore, Ettinger insists that since the early 2000’s Jews have been demographically outperforming Palestinians, a trend which supposedly can be expected to continue. So how does Israel avoid apartheid? Well, it can simply annex Judea and Samaria and remain both Jewish and democratic.

At this stage of the argument, the two-state solution becomes optional. And Ettinger&co argue it would be a disastrous choice for Israel. For one there is Israel’s historical heritage in Judea and Samaria. But more importantly a Palestinian state would become a hotbed of terror right in Israel’s heartland.  This latter argument cannot just be dismissed. The Middle East is undergoing tremendous upheaval, with Jihadists clearly on the rise. Is it plausible the corrupt secular Fatah-organization could/would prevent Hamas/Salafist infiltration/take-over? And this is not to mention the potential demise of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the coming decades, to be replaced with another majority-Palestinian state and potential foe of Israel.

Still, it seems to me evident that, however the exact numbers, the absorption of millions of Palestinian Arabs into Israel (not to mention Israel having to govern cities like Jenin and Nablus) would create tremendous problems and potentially fatal havoc for the Zionist project. At least, though, there’s an argument from the right to consider at all, which if nothing else is a step forward.


3 thoughts on “The New Argument of Israel’s One-Staters

  1. And that’s before you even start looking at the fact that refugees living in the West Bank would have a much stronger legal case to have their former lands returned to them, or be massively compensated for their loss, if they were Israeli citizens.

  2. Pingback: Evaluating the Military Argument Against the Two-State Solution? |

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